Analysis of: The Ritalin Sham: Does ADHD Even Exist?
John Breeding acquired “his doctorate in School Psychology from the University of Texas” and has practiced psychology for over 25 years (Counseling and Consultation para1). He is also a published author of four books. In his book “Wildest Colts Make the Best Horses,” appears an article titled; “The Ritalin Sham,” this was later altered and reprinted in Mothering Magazine in the year 2000(“Does ADHD Even” para 1). Breeding takes a very authoritative tone when articulating that ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) medications such as Ritalin are a form of institutionalized oppression. Breeding’s purpose is to convey the belief that the use of psychiatric drugs to cure “fictional illnesses” on children is a sham and is a form of “institutionalized child abuse” (“Does ADHD Even” para 16).
Breeding intentionally narrates an anecdote of a lady named Alice who makes a visit to his office for a counseling session. He includes this in his essay so the audience understands that he is a trusted psychologist. It allows him to establish a level of credibility. This appeals to the pathos of the readers, and it is a bandwagon fallacy; if Alice trusts Breeding so should the audience (Jones 4).
Nathan is the son of the aforementioned Alice. He was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 5, and prescribed Ritalin to “slow him down enough so that he could listen and process information.” Nathan was described by Breeding to exhibit “challenging temperament”, “intense frustration” and “aggressive tantrums” at times (Breeding para 1). Breeding uses these loaded words to such as “aggressive” and “intense” to describe Nathan and “ hurt” and “ angry” to describe Alice (Breeding para 1). This is a form of sentimental appeal as well as a loaded label. Breeding carefully chooses his words to manipulate the readers’ emotions and thoughts towards Alice and her son Nathan (Jones 6).
During paragraph 4, Breeding states, “a large percentage of adults who take psychiatric drugs or give them to their children would prefer to avoid them, and yet they capitulate and use them because the drugs provide relief” (Breeding para 4). This statement is not cited and has no other valid claims to support it. Breeding employs the ignorance of readers by failing to clarify what a “large percentage of adults” is and what “psychiatric drugs” he is referring to, and this tampers with the logos of Breeding paper (para 4). Because Breeding fails to clearly explain to the reader what he meant, he committed a hasty generalization (para 4). A hasty generalization occurs when “someone makes a broad generalization on the basis of too little evidence”; they provide no support to their claim (Jones 14).
The entirety of the fifth paragraph consists of a testimony from Dr.Diller on the topic of the prescription of Ritalin to children. Breeding implies that Diller is “torn by the same conflicts many parents have concerning Ritalin” (Breeding para 5).The particular concerns he was referring to were never clearly defined. Breeding presents Diller’s testimony as a false authority. Breeding supports his claims with testimony from Dr.Diller, a false authority; it someone who has no real authority of relevance to the claim (Jones 8).
Breeding depicts the chemical makeup of the drug Adderall as similar to Ritalin. He describes Adderall as being an alternative to Ritalin. Breeding tells the readers that Adderall is a “combination of three different amphetamines,” or stimulants (“Does ADHD Even” para 6). However, he neglects to mention to the readers that although these psycho stimulants are similar in side effects and prescribed use Ritalin is not composed of amphetamines. Again the author attempts to persuade readers with his use of equivocation, or “half truths”, as well as an appeal to ignorance. He assumes the readers have a lack of knowledge regarding the subject (Jones 5, 16).
Breeding makes an analogy between...
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